Take a Sneak Peek at Mokena Police's New Crime-Mapping Software
Mokena's new CrimeReports software will, starting Jan. 23, allow people to search for past crimes in their section of town, get alerts about new crimes and share the information with their friends.
Want to look at past crimes in your neighborhood, get alerts about new crimes in a section of town you designate and even search sex offender data on your iPhone?
Starting next month, you can.
On Wednesday, the Mokena Police Department offered members of the media a sneak peek at CrimeReports, the new crime mapping software the department plans to make public Jan. 23. Police Chief Randy Rajewski will present CrimeReports to the village board the same day.
As approved in the village budget that started in July, the police department will be paying less than $5,000 a year for two services from CrimeReports.com: CrimeReports, a public online map of police data, and CommandCentral, which will generate maps, statistics and other data for the department to use internally when planning how best to divvy officers.
"This is going to revolutionize the way we patrol," Rajewski said.
CrimeReports, available online or through a free iPhone app, will allow residents to see crimes in their area, all mapped out. You can search by date, time, area—even mark off different sections of town you care about to get e-mail alerts when something happens by your parents' house or your child's school.
Twice a day, the police department servers will upload every completed police report from murders to pedestrian stops, "everything that generates an official police report," Rajewski said.
What will it show?
- The date and time the crime occurred
- The block where it happened (the police station would be the 10900 block of Front Street instead of 10907 Front St., for example)
- The most serious charge (a DUI case would not also mention that the driver wasn't wearing her seat belt, for example)
- Past crimes at that location
- An identifier code a reader can tell police if they want or have more information about the crime
- Detailed information on local sex offenders with exact address and the most recent photo the department took during registration
"It gives a snapshot of what occurred, but not in such detail it identifies a victim," Rajewski said.
Each crime will also have two links: "Send to friend" and "Submit anonymous tip about this crime."
Clicking "Send to friend" will send the information to an e-mail address of your choosing. Clicking "Submit anonymous tip about this crime" will take you to Crime Stoppers of Will County.
Crime Stoppers, which the village already uses, has a 24- to 48-hour response time in getting information to the department. Rajewski said. He said he hopes "common sense" will make people just call the department directly when the information they have is more time-sensitive.
What won’t it show?
- Exact street address of crime
- Lesser charges from the same incident
- Car crashes where no one was arrested
- Crimes where a juvenile is the suspect
- Crimes more than a year old
- Information from incomplete reports
Screenshots of Mokena's map are included as the photos in this article, but to play around with the system for yourself, go to CrimeReports.com and type in either "Plainfield" or "Joliet."
While the public CrimeReports take out some of the information—stuff that can identify victims and the 500 to 600 little fender benders the department sees a year, for example—all the data will be visible for the internal CommandCentral.
Each morning at roll call, officers can see a detailed map of where crimes occurred in town, where crimes occurred within officers' beats and graphs and charts breaking down the crimes.
Similar to the old "pin maps" officers used to find hot spots where to deploy patrol officers, the CommandCentral information will show officers where to go and what to be prepared for. Officers can get to that information from any computer with Internet access to search through it themselves.
Although the department could have gotten either CommandCentral or CrimeReports individually, Rajewski said the department opted for both not only for transparency, but for perspective on how the public views crime.
"Sometimes, we get caught up in our own world in terms of what we see," he said.
The services together cost less than $5,000 a year, Rajewski said. The only new equipment the department bought for this was a larger monitor to display CommandCentral maps to all the officers during morning roll call, he said.
"Overall, we're only investing a few thousand dollars a year in terms of our ability to do this," he said.